Senior IPS officer Viresh Kumar Bhawra 1987 batch, who was serving as Director General of Punjab Police before going on a two-month leave in July 2022, has challenged the appointment of Gaurav Yadav as Director General of Punjab Police during his leave period before Chandigarh bench of Central Administrative Tribunal Chandigarh.
The application of Bhawra is listed for hearing today before the Tribunal.
In the application Bhawra said he has an unblemished service records of more than 35 years and is one of the few officers in the entire state who has completely clean service records.
His name has been recommended twice in the years 2020 and 2022 in the panel of 3 officers for Head of Police Force (HoPF) by the Union Public Service Commission.
What is the row?
Bhawna was appointed DGP for a minimum period of two years in January 2022 by Charanjit Singh Channi-led Congress government. He took over from acting DGP Sidharth Chattopadhyaya on January 8, 2022, who was facing scrutiny following the security breach during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Punjab visit last year.
However, when AAP won the assembly election and Bhagwant Mann took over as chief minister in March 2022, Bhawra was said to be pressurised to relinquish charge of the post of DGP and it was perceived that he was appointee of previous government.
But Bhawra said that the same is absolutely baseless as such he was employed in pursuance to valid process conducted none else than the UPSC.
“In fact, immediately on taking over the charge he was being asked to partake in various illegal acts which included but were not limited to register to cases against various public figures, granting of security of the contingent of Punjab Police outside the State to various dignitaries and various other coercive measures,” he said in the plea.
Under the circumstances, fearing any disciplinary action, he requested for leave for a period of 60 days in the month of July 2022, almost six months after taking the charge of the post of DGP.
When he left for sanctioned leave, Gaurav Yadav, a 1992 batch IPS was given additional charge of the post of DGP in addition to his duties during the leave period of the applicant.
Bhawra said the earned leave was going to expire on September 2, 2022 and he was to join back on September 5, 2022.
However, shockingly on September 2, 2022 itself, on the date when the leave was to expire, the state government transferred Bhawra from his present posting as DGP to that of Chairman Punjab Police Housing Corporation SAS Nagar.
What Bhawra wants?
Bhawra said the order dated September 2, 2022 cannot be sustained in the eyes of law as the same is completely illegal being passed in contravention of the provisions of the Punjab Police Act 2007 as also the directions given by the Supreme Court.
He prayed before the Tribunal to reinstate him as DGP keeping in view of recommendation of the UPSC and the order dated January 08, 2022 appointing him as DGP for minimum period of two years and further restraining the state government from appointing or giving additional charge of the post of DGP to any other officer till such time he completes actual two years of service. Bhawra is due to retire in May 2024.
Vivek Shukla is a management graduate who has worked in corporate worked for 20 years and is now pursuing his passion — news.